Above: Italian 4-foglio for BREATHLESS (Jean-Luc Godard, France, 1960); artist: Sandro Symeoni.
The two most popular posters—each with over 600 likes—that I have posted in the past three months on Movie Poster of the Day have been unfamiliar takes on very familiar movies. The stunning Italian 55" x 78" poster for Godard’s Breathless, sold by Posteritati this past fall, is strikingly different from the usual poster images of Belmondo and Seberg strolling the Champs-Elysée or smoking in bed. Instead, artist Sandro Symeoni adapts the climactic scene of the film, but gives it a much more noirish feel, with Belmondo’s petty criminal receding into the blackest of nights. Without looking at the names you’d be hard pressed to identify the film from the poster.
The Russian poster for Star Wars, below, created in 1990 for the first Russian release of the film, is even less easily identifiable: a colorful crayon-drawing of what may be Darth Vader but which looks more like a dog wearing a helmet adorned with roman candles, surrounded by masonic symbols.
Above: 1990 Russian poster for STAR WARS (George Lucas, USA, 1977); artist unknown.
The rest of the top 20, presented below in descending order, are the usual strange bedfellows: Japanese posters for Bergman, Scorsese and Jarman; Polish posters for films by Mike Nichols, Robert Redford and Robert Mulligan; an East German poster for a Polish film and a Czech poster for an East German film; some home-grown classics by American masters Saul Bass, Bill Gold and Robert Tanenbaum; a couple of striking teasers for 2015 releases In the Heart of the Sea and White God that coincidentally both feature overhead shots of animals; and a variety of designs for Jacques Tati and Inherent Vice.
Above: US one sheet for A CHRISTMAS STORY (Bob Clark, USA/Canada, 1983); artist: Robert Tanenbaum. [See more of Tanenbaum’s work here.]
Above: Teaser poster for IN THE HEART OF THE SEA (Ron Howard, USA, 2015); design studio: WORKS ADV.
Above: Japanese poster for WINTER LIGHT (Ingmar Bergman, Sweden, 1963); designer unknown.
Above: Polish poster for WORKING GIRL (Mike Nichols, USA, 1988); designer: Andrjez Pagowski.
Above: US one sheet for MAGNUM FORCE (Ted Post, USA, 1973); designer: Bill Gold.
Above: 1980 Japanese poster for MEAN STREETS (Martin Scorsese, USA, 1973); designer unknown.
Above: 1970 Czech poster for TAKE CARE OF SUSI! (Klaus Gendries, East Germany, 1968); designer: Stanislav Vajce.
Above: Close-up of the new banner poster for INHERENT VICE (Paul Thomas Anderson, USA, 2014); design studio: BLT Communications.
Above: 1980 East German poster for THE YOUNG LADIES OF WILKO (Andrzej Wajda, Poland, 1979); designer: Otto Kummert.
Above: Banner poster for INHERENT VICE (Paul Thomas Anderson, USA, 2014); design studio: BLT Communications.
Above: 2014 UK re-release quad for PLAYTIME (Jacques Tati, France, 1967); designer: Jen Davies.
Above: US poster for WHITE GOD (Kornél Mundruczó, Hungary, 2014); design studio: Gravillis.
Above: 1960 Royal College of Art Film Society poster for JOUR DE FETE (Jacques Tati, France, 1949); designer: Norman Vertigan.
Above: 1965 Polish poster for TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD (Robert Mulligan, USA, 1962); designer: Bronislaw Zelek.
Above: Japanese poster for THE LAST OF ENGLAND (Derek Jarman, UK, 1988); designer unknown.
Above: DVD cover for PLAYTIME (Jacques Tati, France, 1967); designer: David Merveille. [See more of Merveille’s Jacques Tati designs here.]
Above: US one sheet for THE HUMAN FACTOR (Otto Preminger, USA, 1980); designer: Saul Bass.
Above: 1983 Polish poster for ORDINARY PEOPLE (Robert Redford, USA, 1980); designer: Jan Mlodozeniec.
Poster sources are all credited on Movie Poster of the Day; click on the titles above for more information.
You can see the previous Best of round-up here and if you want to see more and you’re not on Tumblr you can follow me on Twitter and Facebook and get daily updates there. And every Friday I post a link back to my more in-depth pieces here.
Happy New Year!